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World Cup Recap: Germany vs. France

It seemed as routine as a quarter final can be.  It was just another day at the office for Germany, who is more than accustomed to playing in this stage of a World Cup.  The Germans faced France, Friday in Maracana Stadium for the opportunity to advance to  the semifinals of Brazil 2014.  Germany got on the board early and it was enough to send the French home and the Germans into their fourth consecutive World Cup semifinal.

Both teams presented changes in  the starting lineups–  Germany sat defender Per Mertesacker and started striker Miroslav Klose looking to improve their pace on and off the ball.  French head coach Didier Deschamps decided to start winger Antoine Griezmann instead of striker Olivier Giroud and allowed Karim Benzema to have a more of a central role.

The only goal of the match came off a set piece that defender Mats Hummels powerfully won with his head to beat French keeper Hugo Lloris in the 12th minute.  From that point on the German squad always looked like they were in control, even when both teams traded several opportunities that put both goalkeepers under stress.

The best chance of the first half for the Frenchmen came in the 34th minute when Mathieu Valbuena entered the German box through the left side of the field only to be denied by a brilliant Manuel Neuer save.

The second half was very similar to the first, with Germany looking very comfortable on the pitch even with the small lead on the scoreboard.  The French never seemed to commit completely to attacking, weary of the potential of the German counterattack.  The cautious approach and lack of urgency produced little opportunities that tested Neuer.

Still, as it usually happens, France had one chance before the final whistle blew.  In stoppage time Benzema entered the German box and left footed a shot looking for the left upper corner of Neuer’s goal.  The German keeper once again responded to the challenge and came up with the save that secured the result for his team.

Germany becomes the first team ever to advance to the semifinals of a World Cup in four consecutive occasions.  They now await the winner between Brazil and Colombia, who they will play on Tuesday in Bello Horizonte.

Luis Gonzalez may be reached at [email protected]


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World Cup Recap: Germany vs. France